Janelle's Blog

My Birthday Wish For You

The clock just struck midnight, and I have stepped into a favorite day out of my year – my birthday. Every year I get excited about what the new year holds for me. What adventures will I experience, what new friends will I meet, and what goals will I achieve this year? The best part of birthdays is the anticipation that one is coming. Since you can’t stop them, why not jump in and have fun with them?

 While running my fingers across the spines of books in my library, I found an old book that was awarded me when I was in high school. At 16 I had never won anything in my life, so when I lifted this little book off the shelf, I grinned at seeing my name, Janelle Cox, engraved in gold and under my name, the title Girl of the Month. The name of the book is The New Book of the Art of Living. I take it that I was destined to learn to live life well.

 I look back at this past year and reminisce about the things that I have learned and the experiences, both good and bad, that have made me a better person. Nothing in life ever went exactly as I planned it, except for one thing. My values have remained steadfast. Everything that was built on those values created my character. Sure, I’d like to change some decisions I made. It would be nice to avoid the pain of breast cancer in my life. But, those things, combined with all of the good things that have happened, have sharpened me.

 Would you like to know some secrets of living life? I thought of three things I do that keep me looking forward:

 LAUGH A LOT

 Train yourself to look for humor in life. Believe me, it is on every corner. To laugh a lot, you have to stop thinking about yourself and focus on your surroundings. For example, before I picked up The New Book of the Art of Living from my bookcase, I spotted two books side by side. One was called Eat That Frog!, a personal management book by Brian Tracy. Exactly next to it was When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair, by Geneen Roth, on healthy eating. I laughed out loud. If you keep your eyes open, you will see things others miss.

 LOVE A LOT

 My husband, Neal, and I sat on our back patio tonight enjoying a late-evening cool down from a 105 degree temperature day. We talked about a television personality who was getting his eighth divorce. One and two, I may understand, but not eight. When people ask me how Neal and I have been married 43 years this summer, my answer is, “We love a lot. We love God, who is the center of our home and we love each other.” That love has taken us through rough waters, one of which was breast cancer 28 years ago. Making ourselves available to each other by being there has given us each stability when our world was falling apart.

 Neal’s parents have been married 69 years. When they celebrated their 50th anniversary, I asked them what they thought had given them longevity in their marriage.

 His mother said, “I tell him everything to do.”

 His father said, “And, I don’t do anything she tells me to do.”

 That will work, too.

 LIVE A LOT

 Isn’t it ironic that when I opened The New Book of the Art of Living, the laminated book mark divided the chapter titled, The Art of Renewal? The first paragraph started out, “Your birthday is the beginning of your own personal new year. It is time to dust off your dreams and shine up your ideals.”

 I believe that to live a lot is to extract the essence of life and embrace its fragrance, to work your hardest and pause to taste the fruit of a well-lived life, to laugh for the sheer joy of life, and to love until you feel you will explode with happiness.

 My birthday wish for you is that you will not get caught up in the difficulty of life, in its bitterness or sadness, but that you will find peace in the storms of life. I wish you the kind of joy that comes from so deep within that you can’t keep a smile off your face. I wish you love. I wish you life.

 Thought for Today:

 “The great use of life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.” – William James

 Live Life,

 Janelle

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